The referenda would approve funding for a variety of projects in the county’s $2.4 billion FY 2013-2022 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). During the CIP process, the county asked for public input, including at a public hearing last month. The adopted CIP will be published later this summer.
County staff recommends the Board approves four referenda to go to a public vote. Each asks voters if they believe the county should take on a debt and issue bonds for the specified amount in each category, in order to fund county projects. The breakdown of the three county government referenda and one school referendum is as follows:
- Metro and Transportation — $31,946,000
- Local Parks and Recreation — $50,553,000
- Community Infrastructure — $28,306,000
- Arlington Public Schools — $42,620,000
The Metro and Transportation referendum includes funding various road, pedestrian and transit projects across the county. Portions will also fund the WALKArlington, BikeArlington and Neighborhood Traffic Calming programs. The largest amount, however, would go toward WMATA projects, in the amount of $14.6 million.
The Local Parks and Recreation referendum will fund improvements at county parks and land acquisition. The largest portion of funding — $42.5 million — would go toward the design and construction of the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center. The proposal also includes maintenance on playgrounds, courts and other park infrastructure.
Street improvements including curbs, gutters, sidewalks and paving are covered under the Community Infrastructure referenda. There will be money allocated for traffic management, street lighting, landscaping and pedestrian safety enhancements. This proposal will also provide funding for the county’s information technology and public safety needs through the installation of a public safety network. The Community Infrastructure bond includes funding for Arlington’s Neighborhood Conservation program.
Funding for the Arlington Public Schools referenda covers the school system’s Capital Improvement Plan, which includes maintenance and building additional classroom space. A significant portion would make funds available for the APS plan to build new elementary schools.
If the bond referenda are approved by the voters, the county is legally prohibited from reallocating funding from one category to another. The County Board may make changes, however, to specific projects within each category, due to factors such as changes in construction pricing. The Board also has the option of issuing a lesser amount of bonds than approved by voters.
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